01/03/2024

Embracing the underdog moniker, Aaron Stahl is ready to put on a show on March 2 - Photo: Combat Analytics

Embracing the underdog role, Aaron Stahl is ready to welcome Nikita Tszyu to boxing's professional ranks in their March 2 meeting.

At first glance, Aaron Stahl (2-0-1) does not appear to be your typical main event fighter. The brash statements and outlandish soundbites born out of false bravado, that are so commonly seen in boxing at the highest level, do not form part of his vocabulary.

Instead, there is a high level of humility to Stahl, who concedes that there ‘isn’t much to say’ about Aaron the boxer. He turns up, listens closely and fights with great intensity, such is the simplicity of his craft.

In fact, he could almost be described as coy and shy. If one is to interact with the Townsville native, they may not even believe that he is gearing up to headline Australia’s first major boxing card of the year.

Stahl is set to take on the debuting Nikita Tszyu, the son of boxing hall of famer, Kostya (31-2, 25 KOs) and younger brother of surging Super Welterweight contender, Tim (20-0, 15 KOs) at No Limit Boxing’s March 2 event. For this reason alone, there is a monumental amount of fanfare attached to the contest.

Rather than allowing himself to get caught up in the hype or prevailing narratives, Stahl has maintained a focus on the elements within his control.

While he admits the platform will be bigger than any he has personally experienced in the past, the event’s magnitude is not clouding his eagerness to make a strong account of himself.

“I’ve done the best part on my side with my training. I know I go up against some tough guys in sparring and I feel we’ve got an even match here,” he told The Inner Sanctum.

“It’s definitely gone from zero to a hundred. I certainly wasn’t expecting it, but I’m ready for it. It’s going to be a good fight between us.”

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Although the attention is understandably being cast the way of his opponent, to overlook the ability of Stahl is a dangerous game.

The 31 year old has had to dig deep at times in his burgeoning career. Any fan who had the privilege of witnessing his most recent contest can attest to this.

Faced with the challenge of an incredibly tough Mick Bagley (5-7-1, 4 KOs), Stahl was forced to walk through a barrage of heavy punches in order to outland his battle-tested foe. Ultimately, the unanimous decision win proved to be a showcase of both skill and heart of the Far-North Queenslander.

Aaron Stahl and Michael Bagley stand in the pocket and trade – Photo: Combat Analytics

Moreover, the way in which the fight played out was a further nod to his outstanding durability.

Each of Stahl’s three professional fights to date have gone to the final bell, the latest of which lasting six rounds. Tszyu on the other hand, has not fought past the amateur limit of three.

It is this experience, Stahl believes, that will be of paramount importance in the meeting. He has felt his arms grow tired fatigue, his lungs burn as they gasp for oxygen and has battled the doubts of a mind being pushed to the brink of quitting.

“That’s one thing that when my trainer first told me, that he hasn’t done six three minute rounds before, he’s only done the amateurs. I think that’s a big step for him,” Stahl said.

“My second fight I only did four rounds and I think that fight was one of my breaking points. I thought, ‘there’s so much more to this fitness wise.’

“Being pretty fit for my last fight being six rounds, I knew I had to pick up my game to be able to go six rounds and not gas out after four. That took a long time to build to.

“I think that’s going to be his weak point.”

Fully cognisant that he is the unknown combatant in the fight, Stahl is more than comfortable playing the role. He is unencumbered by the underdog tag bestowed upon him and come fight night, is full of belief in his ability to shake up the boxing world.

Undefeated, experienced and well trained, the Hawks Boxing gym product will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the upset.

“I’m just here as the underdog I guess, to come in and give him a good, tough first fight,” Stahl concluded.

“I think it’s definitely going to be a tough fight for both of us and a good six rounder. But with all the training, I am confident enough that I’m going to put on a good show for everyone.

“I’m going in to win the fight.”

No Limit Boxing’s Tszyu vs Stahl goes down on March 2 and can be viewed via Fox Sports/Kayo, here.

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